am I sweating the small stuff?

Are you sweating the small stuff? I’m trying to remember where I heard this question last week and it’s driving me nuts. I keep going over my schedule…who was I with? What did I read? What did I watch? Where did this question come from? I keep getting side-tracked.

And yes, that is absolutely an example of sweating the small stuff.

Here’s another example: spending hours rewriting a chapter I’ve already written, when I know I have four more to draft.  Or playing Wordle before I start writing at all.

I know we’ve all heard the guidance don’t sweat the small stuff at some point in our life. I translate that to mean that I should really only focus on the stuff that’s important, the things that move the needle.

But you know, there’s such conflicting information coming at me these days. James Clear, in his book Atomic Habits basically preaches that the small things ARE important, it’s the persistent little habits that add up.

Oh, and details like punctuation can make all the difference in the world.

And the message of magenta tells us that love is in the little things, which is absolutely lovely.

And I myself always say that the only way to handle a big task is to break it down into smaller pieces, think through the details, make it manageable.

If we have a big event coming up that makes us nervous, we are told that meditating and visualizing every detail will help us improve our performance.

So is sweating the small things a bad thing? Oh, it depends. My favorite answer.

If I am making sure that every detail of the thing I am making is perfect for the person who is the intended recipient, then absolutely not. If I’m loving doing a jigsaw puzzle, then nope, not bad. If I’m daydreaming in between every sentence I write, then probably not. If I am frantically looking up every detail because I don’t trust myself, then yes, we’re moving into that territory. If I am obsessing on the details, I think it might be. If I’m so deep in the throes of perfectionism that I can’t move forward, I think it might be. And if I am using the small things as a way of hiding or avoiding what is really a higher priority, then definitely!

So yeah, it depends. Sometimes sweating the small stuff is exactly right and sometimes it’s an excuse…it all depends upon what else is going on with me.

And that makes me think that a great color for this topic is actually a combination of colors. It’s the first time I’ve combined colors in a post, so this is fun!

The two colors I want to combine are yellow and magenta – and they immediately remind me of the first tulips that come up in my yard every spring, hence the image I chose.

The shadow side of yellow carries the message of fear and anxiety, and the shadow side of magenta is getting lost in detail. They come together perfectly to represent this challenging side of our obsession with details: spinning, hiding, procrastinating and perfectionism – truly sweating the small stuff.

But as always the antidote can be found in the radiant side of these same colors: joy and love expressed in noticing and caring for the  details that are in line with the things that are important to us! Details that are actually – wait, I need to send a text to someone I love right this minute – details that are actually the important details to be thinking about.

So here’s a yellow and magenta inspired Color Thinking question: How can I find delight in the details, and use them to replace the fear with lightness and joy?

Then find something yellow and/or magenta to lock in the delight, to remind us that there is beauty in the details, but sometimes our job is just to enjoy them. It doesn’t always have to be hard. Or perfect. Maybe something like a tulip…

In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,



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